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Race to the Top initiative could bring a new form of standardized tests


The Obama administration is pushing heavily for school districts to reform through its Race to the Top campaign, in which states can apply for increased funding to their school systems if they have shown signs of improvement.


With this campaign comes a new form of standardized testing, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The news provider reports that the Department of Education has allotted $330 million to two coalitions of states to help develop new ways to determine student proficiency.


"These new tests will be an absolute game-changer in public education," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in announcing the grants. "They'll be better, smarter assessments - the kind of tests our teachers want and our students need."


These coalitions represent 44 states as well as the District of Columbia. Some of the changes to the standardized test format include moving away from simply multiple choice and focusing on students' abilities in classroom speaking and applying their basic knowledge to real world problems.


The Washington Post reports that the first coalition would assess how students comprehend complex tests and research projects, while the second coalition would focus on how students use computer-adaptive technologies.